It will soon be Thanksgiving, the yearly occasion where we can stuff ourselves until we surrender and then wallow on the couch for a few hours. But, as we all know, not everyone has fond memories of the holiday. In fact, just about every Thanksgiving feast with my family included some kind of cooking-related fight, instigated because not a single cook in the kitchen had enough experience with roasting giant birds to take charge of the situation. Everyone's opinion was noted, and chaos -- plus an inevitably overcooked hunk of poultry meant to appease whatever family member was most concerned about food safety -- ensued.
If your household has experienced similar chaos, Mick Rosacci, chef at Tony's Market, feels your pain. "You don't want to stress," he points out. "It's Thanksgiving. You want to enjoy it."
And to aid in your relaxation, he's hosting a happy hour cooking demonstration tomorrow that aims to alleviate the biggest cause of Thanksgiving frustration: the turkey. "We'll talk about the bird and the gravy, which are the things people have the most trouble with," he says.
Rosacci plans to take the class through the entire process of roasting the fowl, from brining to inverted roasting ("so the breast doesn't dry out," he says) to carving. He'll cover spatchcock -- a butterflying method that flattens the turkey for roasting and grilling -- stuffing and slow cooking. He'll make gravy from the drippings and start a stock from the carcass. And "I'll spend time on things people are afraid of, like disaster-relief, fixing problems and food safety temperatures," he notes. Rosacci also plans to accomplish all of this in forty minutes, leaving the crowd ample time to ask questions.
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Ultimately, he notes, coming up with a delicious turkey boils down to two things: "Just don't overcook it," and "preparation is everything." Arming people with knowledge, a shopping list and tips like "pad your time by at least an hour," he hopes, will lead to a better holiday -- and a better bird.
A grand total of $5 gets you access to the demonstration as well as a beer or a glass of wine. And if you've got other Thanksgiving dinner-related insecurities, Rosacci promises to answer those questions, too. The class starts at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. You can register on the Tony's website.